La Crosse residents express concern over vandalism, thefts in downtown parking garages

Cameras will be installed at the Riverside Parking garage this year, utility official says

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — In 2021, there were 365 incidents of vandalism and destruction of property in the city of La Crosse, according to the La Crosse Police Department.

At a meeting of the La Crosse Board of Public Works on Monday, city officials discussed the issue of vandalism at downtown parking ramps.

On Tuesday, La Crosse Parking Utility Coordinator Joe Pederson said that cameras will be installed at the Riverside Parking garage at 424 Second St. S. this year, but he didn’t provide an exact timeline for the project.

Todd Mandel of La Crosse said cameras can be helpful for safety reasons, but he feels they might not go far enough.

“It doesn’t solve the problem for the person who had their car damaged or broken into or vandalized,” he said.

Mandel said he hopes the city’s move to spend taxpayer money on cameras turns out to be a wise investment.

“I would hope the city is making those decisions based on data,” he said.

So far, Mayor Mitch Reynolds has not been willing to comment on the issue of vandalism at downtown garages. He’s not able to speak about this topic because he’s awaiting new numbers from the city’s police department regarding the issue, a city representative said.

From 2020 to 2021, there was a nearly 7.7% increase in vandalism and destruction of property in the city of La Crosse, according to police data.

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